I’m a tech reporter with Adweek and I just finished an in-depth story looking at how the adult entertainment industry is often the first to adopt emerging tech—counting everything from VCR tapes and DVDs to virtual reality glasses and more. In fact, the relationship between the porn industry and consumer electronics goes back decades, but could the porn industry help bring virtual reality into more homes?

The Porn Industry Continues to Push Tech Forward as We Look Toward VR Advancements Can Porn Save VR?

Proof: https://i.redd.it/ocrko4gcr1u21.jpg

Comments: 313 • Responses: 9  • Date: 

emeraldohio222 karma

Hi Kelsey,

I think it will help bring it more mainstream as you mentioned. My question is, if/when it does, how do you think the tech will evolve because of this relationship with the porn industry? Regarding things like eye tracking, connected devices, uses for collected data, etc.

Thanks for starting this discussion! Fascinating topic.

AdweekMag199 karma

Thanks for your question! I think a lot of the tech evolution will depend on how the porn industry tries to deploy the tech. Some of the people I talked to for the story mentioned their interest in developing more interactive porn experiences with the VR headset in tandem with other tech (connected sex toys or teledildonics), and so I imagine that will eventually come to fruition. As for the other uses, it’s hard to say — it all depends on whether the industry thinks the applications are promising enough for them to invest a lot of resources in them.

Caldari_Numba1128 karma

Do you think I'll ever be able to get an Oculus Rift bundled with a fleshlight?

AdweekMag154 karma

There's a definite interest from the industry in developing ways to pair VR porn experiences with connected sex tech. So, probably!

Satire_or_not108 karma

Is it fair to blame the porn industry on my wasted money on a betamax player 35 years ago?

On a more serious note, the porn industry had a huge impact on the success of the a lot of tech. If the industry is going to help the adoption of VR, do you think it'll be as a 'killer app' or do you think there is a way the industry can help reduce the entry cost to home VR?

AdweekMag87 karma

Ha! Over the course of my reporting I learned about some of the other factors that led to the failure of the Betamax (including its higher cost and shorter recording time), but if it makes you feel better be my guest!

The general market dynamics at play here (early adopters shell out lots of $$ for VR, VR gets better with that investment, more people have more incentives to invest, more competitors come onto the scene and push prices down) will likely lead to lower price points for home VR in the future. Porn producers aren’t making headsets themselves, so they won’t be able to directly control price points, but some of them offer the option to buy headsets uploaded with adult content, which gives people additional incentives to invest. I don’t really imagine a “killer app” for adult content at this point, primarily because adult content is banned from mainstream app stores, but never say never!

CindyGallop43 karma

When do you think the advertising industry and brands will begin advertising and partnering in cutting edge technology and content with porn - which has far and away more mass reach and interesting contextual targeting opportunities than any other content category or platform on the internet?

AdweekMag50 karma

When I talked to Jonathan Coopersmith, a technology professor at Arizona State, for this article, he told me: “It’s bad PR to be associated with porn.” We were talking about device-makers, but I think the same can be said for brands and advertisers. I think most marketers, if you asked them, would not consider porn to be “brand-safe.” I don’t know how long it will take for that dynamic to change. But I can imagine that if a few more mainstream companies test out advertising or partnerships with adult content, the rest of the industry would certainly pay attention to the results.

my_main_I_promise42 karma

I've heard that internet credit card transaction processing exists because the porn industry.

Is that true?

AdweekMag49 karma

Yes! It's my understanding that the tech used to verify internet financial transactions (and eventually secure online transactions) has roots in the adult content industry -- both internet services and phone services. The porn industry is also behind functional internet video-streaming. (If you want to read more about this, I'd point you to Jonathan Coopersmith, who has written about this at length, or Patchen Barss, who wrote about it in his book "The Erotic Engine.")

nothankyounotnow16 karma

Historically, human sexuality has always been on the forefront of social change and societal progress. President Lincoln, for example, is well known for his efforts to heal the wounds of a divided nation by way of patenting and bringing to market the first commercial vibrators. In Milton's biography of Honest Abe, they're described as hollow pieces of wood filled with bees and sealed with wax. Milton specifically cautions against letting them become too warm lest the wax melt and release the bees: that's how Mary Todd Lincoln died.

What, if any, similar public health risks are likewise posed by modern high tech erotic super gadgets?

AdweekMag29 karma

Bee safety is still the No. 1 concern.

Seriously, though, Pornhub recently announced a campaign to raise money to save the bees.

AdweekMag15 karma

Thanks for all the great questions! Unfortunately I have to go back to my regular job responsibilities. If you want to learn more and haven't already read it, please check out my article here. Thanks again everyone!

brophiex14 karma

Hi Kelsey, huge fan! I'm just wondering, how did you pitch this to your editor?

AdweekMag15 karma

My editor actually came to me with this story idea! We talked about it months ago (sometime in December, I think) and I worked on researching and reporting a little bit each week since then.

michaelboamah0 karma

Hi Kelsey, don't you feel like gaming has overtaken porn as an early adopter of tech ? If you look at Congresswoman AOC showing up on livestreaming platform Twitch to raise funds or the use of Discord that is now becoming mainstream for celebrities to interact with their fans and should I mention Slack or even Fortnite that has almost turned itself into a full-fledged social network.

AdweekMag1 karma

Yes — I think that gaming has been a huge driver of tech innovation, and a lot of the investment in VR technology (as well as the other tech you mentioned!) has come from the gaming industry. I think adult content is just one factor that influences the eventual widespread adoption of new tech, not necessarily the only factor. Someone might buy a headset for gaming but eventually look into VR porn, or vice versa. The more incentives for a person to invest in a VR headset, the more likely that tech will get the sustained investment for it to get better and ultimately for it to succeed.